It has never come to my attention that my article in The Observer’s Volume 53, Issue 27 will likely be my last article. Although I have never been a member of the Editorial Board, I have really enjoyed writing my articles for the Case Western Reserve University community. I have to say that The Observer not only reports campus news and other local news that matter to the CWRU student community, but also gives a platform for students to express their opinions and to voice their concerns.
In my second and third years at CWRU, I had considered writing for The Observer on an occasional basis, but I didn’t have a chance back then because my weekly schedule was full of school assignments, part-time jobs and other personal matters.
Later, in mid-2020, I noticed that there was a drop in the number of Life and Opinion articles. To me, this was not unexpected since the pandemic likely messed up each staff writer’s schedule, and also it was probably still difficult to deal with physical distancing and virtual meetings.
At the end of 2020, although it was a difficult year full of terrible news—including loss of friends and family members, financial struggles and coping with the new normal—I considered writing an article in a positive tone, titled “Let’s learn from 2020.” Initially, it was a Letter to the Editor, but it was eventually made into a proper op-ed.
I have come to the conclusion now that writing an op-ed is easier than what I initially thought. Your brain is full of thoughts and opinions, and you probably express your opinions verbally every day. Imagine that you are hanging out with your friends on a weekend day. You may talk about a range of topics, from local happenings to international controversies. In that setting, perhaps each person will casually voice their thoughts and opinions. But because these conversations are not recorded, no one’s opinion will be known publicly.
Writing an opinion piece involves putting your thoughts in writing, with a small difference being that writing has a more professional tone than simply speaking. As you write, you can bolster your argument by adding some resources to your piece such as famous quotes or published statistics. You need to be passionate about the topic you’re writing about if you want the readers to think you have a strong opinion about that topic.
If you decide you want to write an op-ed piece for The Observer at some point, the opinion editor will inform you about the basics, logistics and expectations. When The Observer’s Editorial Board receives your article, they will make some edits to improve your article, but they will never challenge your opinion. This is because when your article is published, it is written under your name only.
I have written 20 articles for The Observer. Each time I was asked to send my article’s pitch to the opinion editor, it was always approved.
I would like to thank The Observer’s staff for their efforts in making The Observer a success. Perhaps not many people know they spend many hours each Wednesday night producing the newspaper, with tasks including content gathering, pre-press and press processes. Some staff need to stay up until past 3 a.m. to finish their work.
I’m positive in the future we will see a lot of good writers and reporters continue to join The Observer. The future staff will likely look for improvements. If I were asked for my suggestion, I would say The Observer should consider hiring a cartoon artist in the future. I’m sure CWRU has some students who can potentially be cartoonists and are able to contribute on a weekly basis.
Finally, I would like to give my special thanks to Jordan Reif—Opinion Editor for the year 2020-2021—for giving me the opportunity to become a staff writer after she read my first Letter to the Editor. She was always helpful when I had any questions or concerns. I wish her the best in her future endeavors.
Writing opinion pieces has been a rewarding experience that I’m sure I will cherish for many years to come.